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Canvas (Unstretched)

Unstretched Canvas

Q: Do you stretch rolled/flat paintings that have been removed from their stretcher bar?

A: Yes – Sketch Art Supplies will stretch any unmounted original art or photos printed on canvas! We do all of the work in-house.

We have worked with…

– Travel paintings from South America, Carribean, Asia, Europe, etc.,
– Photos printed on canvas,
– Original artwork (canvas, linen) on warped stretcher to be removed & re-stretched,
– Raw canvas, primed canvas and linen.

Q: Why does paint sometimes crack when stretched?

A: Paint cracking occurs before, during and after stretching for a few reasons.

  • Canvas (or sometimes tablecloth/clothing fabric or coffee bean sacks- especially if you bought the painting in a third world country) is very thin and porous,
  • Primer used was poor quality with no flexibility (house paint instead of Gesso is usually employed);
  • Painting was rolled up in dry storage for a long time;
  • Painting travelled from a high humidity environment to a low humidity environment;
  • Oil paint is not an ideal medium for canvas because it has poor flexibility; however, even when acrylics (good flexibility paint) are applied over a poor primer (house paint), the cracking primer will cause the top layer (acrylics) to crack as well – especially after stretching because the stretching process itself literally “stretches” out the fibers of the canvas, thereby pulling the paint apart.

What is the solution to avoiding cracking due to stretching? Well, there really is no solution, other than to not stretch the canvas over bars. Instead, we would treat the canvas like a needlework is treated – carefully sew it onto a rigid backing and frame it behind glass using spacers and mats. Of course, this is a less cost-effective option, but it will ensure preservation of your original art.

All unstretched paintings carry a high risk of cracking, so if you are concerned about preserving your work of art we recommend a full conservation framing package instead of simply stretching it onto bars. If the cracking does not bother you in the slightest, then we will stretch it over bars – it is, after all, the most cost-effective and popular method of stretching flat canvas art.

Visit us in person with your artwork for an accurate quote and assessment.

Make an appointment with Luba by calling (403) 450-1917 and leaving a message.